|Organization:||Eastern Michigan University|
A 1954 Eastern Michigan University graduate, Oestrike was the University's head baseball coach for 23 years, from 1965-87, directing the baseball program to unprecedented heights and leading the team to an NAIA National Championship in 1970, a runner-up spot in the 1976 NCAA College World Series, a fifth-place finish in the 1975 NCAA College World Series, four Mid-American Conference championships, and five NCAA Regional appearances on the way to a 657-508-8 overall record.
Oestrike began his college career as a two-sport standout at Eastern Michigan, lettering in both baseball and football. After graduating from EMU in 1954, Oestrike went on earn a master's degree from the University of Michigan, serve a two-year tour with the U.S. Army and become a high-school football coach at Trenton High School. Oestrike returned to EMU in 1963 and the rest was history. He spent the next 24 years developing the EMU baseball program into one of the very finest in the nation.
During his tenure, Oestrike coached six All-Americans and 22 All-MAC first team members. The coaching legend was also tabbed as NCAA Regional Coach of the Year ('75, '76, '78, '81) and MAC Coach of the Year ('75, '76, '78, '82) four times each throughout his career. He developed numerous future Major League players including Bryan Clutterbuck, Glenn Gulliver, Chris Hoiles, John Martin, Bob Owchinko, Ron Rightnowar, Pat Sheridan, Bob Welch and Mickey Weston along with long-time manager Terry Collins.
The decade of the 1970's was one that will be remembered throughout EMU baseball history. With Oestrike at the helm, the 1970 team produced a record of 41-11 en route to an NAIA National Championship. As the program made the transition from NAIA to the NCAA, it wasted no time getting to the upper echelon of the NCAA.
In 1975, Eastern posted a 37-20-1 mark to capture a MAC championship before advancing to the College World Series for the first time in school history. One year later, EMU built off the success to make a return trip Omaha. In arguably EMU's all-time best season, the team went 46-16 to collect another conference championship and advance to the finals of the College World Series, finishing runner-up to national champion Arizona.
Oestrike was singled out as the NCAA National Coach of the Year in 1976 by The Sporting News and went on to become the president of the ABCA in 1985. He was inducted into the E-Club Athletics Hall of Fame in 1979.
In addition to his coaching prowess, Oestrike took over a floundering E-Letterwinners Club in 1990 and through his hard work and ability to attract new leaders, he helped lead the E-Club to one of the top alumni chapters at EMU.
Oestrike, the namesake for the Eagles' baseball stadium, was the winningest coach in program history.